Record num­ber of pupils se­cure univer­sity place

The Oban Times - - News - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­

FI­NALLY af­ter wait­ing many anx­ious weeks, thou­sands of pupils across Ar­gyll and Bute opened their exam re­sults on Tues­day, as the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment an­nounced the largest num­ber of Scots school chil­dren had se­cured their univer­sity places.

More than 140,000 stu­dents north of the Bor­der re­ceived the re­sults of their Na­tional 4 and 5, Higher, Ad­vanced Higher and Scot­tish Bac­calau­re­ate ex­ams from the Scot­tish Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Au­thor­ity, with 9,000 cer­tifi­cates drop­ping through let­ter­boxes in the PA post­code.

28,300 Scot­tish stu­dents suc­cess­fully se­cured their higher ed­u­ca­tion cour­ses, with 27,400 go­ing on to Scot­tish uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges, and a fur­ther 3,900 EU pupils se­cur­ing places in Scot­land.

This year also saw the sec­ond high­est num­ber of Higher passes on record, at 152,701 or 77 per cent of those sat, de­spite a fall in the num­ber of school stu­dents. More pupils also gained Higher-level qual­i­fi­ca­tions re­lated to work skills, with Na­tional Cer­tifi­cates at SCQF level 6 in­creas­ing by 23 per cent to 4,920.

Na­tional Cer­tifi­cates, Awards and Na­tional Pro­gres- sion Awards, in cour­ses such as early ed­u­ca­tion, child­care and com­puter games de­vel­op­ment, also went up 27 per cent to more than 43,000.

Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil is still analysing the re­sults from across the re­gion’s schools, which it will con­tinue to share, but it an­nounced the pass rates for Higher ex­ams was 78.29 per cent, just above the na­tional av­er­age. 96.17 per cent of Ar­gyll and Bute pupils sit­ting the Na­tional 4 qual­i­fi­ca­tion passed, three points above the av­er­age, and 78.29 per cent passed the Na­tional 5, just be­low the na­tion­wide fig­ure of 79 per cent.

Lo­cally, there were also 255 passes for Ad­vanced Higher. Coun­cil­lor Rory Colville, Pol­icy Lead for Ed­u­ca­tion and Life­long Learn­ing, con­grat­u­lated pupils, and their teach­ers, par­ents and guardians, for all their ex­tremely hard work: ‘ There will be many cel­e­bra­tions go­ing on as we have young peo­ple to be proud of. I would like to re­as­sure any stu­dent who would have liked to have done bet­ter that schools will be keen to sup­port them in their next steps from here.’

Skills De­vel­op­ment Scot­land has set up a free helpline to of­fer ad­vice, in­for­ma­tion and sup­port for pupils and par­ents, in­clud­ing in­for­ma­tion on col­lege and univer­sity cour­ses, ap­pren­tice­ships, em­ploy­ment and vol­un­teer­ing.

The num­ber is 0808 100 8000, and it will be open from 8am to 8pm on Au­gust 9 and 10, and from 9am to 5pm un­til Au­gust 17.

Na­tional Par­ent Fo­rum of Scot­land Chair Joanna Mur­phy de­scribed it as ‘a real life line’: ‘ Young peo­ple can talk to some­one who is im­par­tial, which helps you to step back and take stock.

‘One of my daugh­ters didn’t do as well as ex­pected in her fifth year and was dev­as­tated, but af­ter talk­ing to the ca­reers ad­vis­ers at the helpline, she re­alised she had so many op­tions.

‘ It takes some heat out of the emo­tion of the day and re­minds young peo­ple no mat­ter the re­sults, there is al­ways a next step.’

You can read more about Ar­gyll and Bute’s schools in The Oban Times’ ed­u­ca­tion sup­ple­ment next week.

Deputy First Min­is­ter and Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary for Ed­u­ca­tion John Swin­ney with ad­vis­ers from the exam re­sults helpline.

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